Phoenix Compensation Agreement - FAQs

 

1. What is being awarded?

As a start, up to five days of leave are being awarded to every employee (2 days for employees who worked at least one day in 2016-17, 1 day for 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 respectively). In addition to resolving some of the damages contained in our group policy grievance, we have also created an expedited process for resolving more serious damages cases and expanded what is eligible for reimbursement.

2. Does this mean I won’t get my money from Phoenix?

You will still receive any outstanding amounts owed to you that you have not received due to Phoenix.

3. Does this agreement mean I won’t be eligible for other compensation?

No. In fact, the agreement creates a faster, dedicated process for resolving individual claims. This agreement does not close off the possibility of negotiating further compensation at the bargaining table or further negotiations outside of collective bargaining should they be warranted.

4. I wasn’t affected directly by Phoenix, does this agreement apply to me?

Yes. Broadly speaking, this agreement contains three tiers of damages. The first-tier, which provides additional days of leave, applies to every public servant who worked at least one day in a position represented by one of the signatory unions since 2016. The second-tier extends the Phoenix-related expenses eligible for reimbursement for those who were directly affected and the third-tier deals with additional damages for those who faced hardship.

5. Which period does this compensation cover?

The agreement covers damages for the following four fiscal years: 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20.

6. I’ve filed a grievance, how is it affected by this?

This agreement only resolves what is dealt with within this framework. If you’re still owed pay or if you have any outstanding damages claims, we will review your grievance and determine whether it makes sense to proceed.

If you are wondering about the status of your grievance, contact the Phoenix Help team at phoenix-help@pipsc.ca.

If you need to file a grievance related to Phoenix, please visit our website for more information.

7. When will I get the money I am owed?

You will receive any outstanding amounts owed to you that you may not have received due to Phoenix on a case-by-case basis. Individual grievances continue to be worked on. Details on your case can be answered by contacting the Phoenix Help team phoenix-help@pipsc.ca.

8. Are 1.25 days adequate compensation for all the hardships members have been through?

This agreement covers all public servants paid by Phoenix. The extra days off are in recognition of the frustration and uncertainty that the system caused you, whether or not your pay was affected. If you are still owed payments or suffered additional losses, you will be fairly compensated in the grievance process. This time off is in addition to any payments owed to you.

9. How were five days of leave reached as appropriate compensation?

The five days of leave were reached as an attempt to address the immense frustration caused to employees and as a product of negotiation with the employer. Leave was chosen instead of a monetary form of compensation, as it is a tangible benefit that is both flexible and easily administered without having to further bog down the Phoenix pay system.

10. What criteria do I need to meet to qualify for the leave bank credits?

In order to qualify for each fiscal year’s worth of leave, an employee needed only to have been employed for one day in that fiscal year(s), whether or not they were on leave, assignment or otherwise not active. For example, if you were hired to the federal public service on September 1, 2017, and have been employed since then, you will get three days of leave credited to your leave bank (2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 fiscal years).

11. Are the leave days prorated if I didn’t work the full year?

To qualify for each year’s leave, you only need to have been employed one day in that fiscal year. You will receive the compensatory leave for each of the four years in which you were employed for one day.

12. How can I cash out my leave?

The periods of leave for 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19, will be credited no later than 150 days from the signing of this agreement for current employees. The leave for 2019/2020 will be credited within 150 days after the end of that fiscal year.

These additional days are treated the same as annual leave and are subject to the same cash-out provisions in your collective agreement.

13. How long will it take for the leave days to be added to my leave bank?

The employer has committed to fully implementing the agreement within 150 calendar days of signing the agreement. Any days for which you qualify from 2016-17 to 2018-19 will be added to your leave bank within 150 days of the agreement being signed. If you qualify for the additional day of leave for 2019-20, it will be added to your leave bank within 150 days of the end of the 2019-20 fiscal year.

14. What are the criteria to use the leave days? Is it the same as vacation days?

All of the criteria are the same as the annual leave provisions in your collective agreement.

15. I no longer work for the federal public service or am retired. What do I get?

In order to qualify for each fiscal year’s worth of leave, an employee needed only to be employed for one day in that fiscal year(s), whether or not they were on leave, assignment or otherwise not active.

For example, if your last day with the federal public service was September 1, 2018, you will get four days of leave credited to your leave bank (for the 2016-17, 2017-2018 and 2018-19 fiscal years) if you began working with the federal public service before March 30, 2016. 

These days are subject to any applicable statutory deductions and are non-pensionable.

If you are retiring soon, whether you will receive the days credited to your leave bank or whether your days will be cashed out will depend on your retirement date. If you’d like further clarity on your specific case, please contact the Phoenix Help team at phoenix-help@pipsc.ca.

16. As a former employee or retired member, how do I cash out the compensation leave?

As a part of this agreement a clear and effective process is being developed. This information will be made available to you as soon as it is complete.

17. What if I was not a member of a union included in this agreement for the entirety of a fiscal year since 2016-17?

If you were not a member of PIPSC or any other signing union included in the agreement for at least one day during a fiscal year since 2016-17, you will not receive the leave days in question for that year.

18. Can we expect more leave days in the future seeing how Phoenix issues will continue?

Further negotiations will take place later in this fiscal year if Phoenix is still affecting members. For as long as there are Phoenix issues, we will seek damages and compensation through all of the appropriate channels.

19. I have incurred direct expenditures due to Phoenix, what should I do?

Please visit our website for more information.

There is no minimum threshold for out-of-pocket expense reimbursement. More details on eligible expenses will follow soon.

20. I had to use sick leave because of stress related to Phoenix, am I eligible for compensation?

The agreement allows for the reimbursement of sick leave for members who took sick leave because of Phoenix. There is no threshold for this reimbursement.

21. I was severely impacted by Phoenix, do I have another recourse for more compensation?

Employees will be able to file claims and the employer will engage in a detailed review of these claims. While a threshold of $1,500 will apply, this threshold is lower than the value of the leave each member will receive as compensation. It’s also important to recognize this is not a deductible amount; if an arbitrator ultimately rules that you are eligible for $5,000 in compensation, you will get all $5,000. 

There is no threshold for sick leave reimbursements or reimbursement of out of pocket expenses.

22. What if I’m owed less than $1,500?

There is no minimum threshold for out-of-pocket expense reimbursement. More details on eligible expenses will follow soon.

Sick leave is excluded from the threshold, so if you have had to use sick leave for issues related to Phoenix you can get that leave back.

23. How did PIPSC come to agree to this?

The National Joint Committee bargaining agents agreed to engage in these discussions with the employer nearly two years ago in an attempt to resolve a number of policy grievances and complaints filed by bargaining agents. PIPSC appointed a representative to sit on a subcommittee with the employer to negotiate this settlement. The settlement is a result of negotiations at that table and the Bargaining Agent heads have come to agree with the settlement.

24. Why did it take two years to come to this agreement?

There were several reasons. Firstly, the process of negotiating an agreement involved multiple parties with a variety of interests. Second, the scope of the problem increased over the duration of these talks. Finally, these negotiations were intertwined with collective bargaining, which lengthened the process of Phoenix negotiations.

25. Which unions were part of this subcommittee?

ACFO-ACAF, along with the Association of Justice Council (AJC), the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) currently serve on this committee on behalf of all public service unions. The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) served on this committee for two years.

26. Will I be able to vote on this agreement?

No, this settlement aims at resolving a number of policy grievances and complaints filed by bargaining agents, not a collective agreement.

27. If any other union representing federal public servants paid by Phoenix gets a better deal, will PIPSC members be able to benefit from that agreement?

In the highly unlikely event that another union secures improvements to this deal, the employer has committed to making those same improvements to the deal that we have.

28. What could the impact of a new government have on future Phoenix negotiations?

We don’t know how a change in government might affect future Phoenix negotiations. It might take longer and be more difficult to negotiate a settlement.

29. Will this affect our negotiations at the bargaining table?

No. This is separate and apart from bargaining.